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Fwd: Proposal For Prayer

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  • daniel_reji
    Dear List This posting appeared in Indian Orthodox Forum. Could we consider his request? ............................................................ Dr.
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2002
      Dear List

      This posting appeared in Indian Orthodox Forum.
      Could we consider his request?

      Dr. Cherian Eapen wrote:

      Dear ones:

      When Jesus had heard that John the Baptist had been arrested,
      he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum
      by the sea,…that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might
      be fulfilled: "…the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the
      Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on
      those dwelling in a land over shadowed by death light has arisen.
      " From that time on, Jesus began to preach, and to say, "REPENT:
      for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"…"There is nothing concealed
      that will not be revealed; nor secret that will not be known…I tell
      you my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but after
      that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one
      who after killing has the power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, be
      afraid of that one"... "Only prayer and fasting can drive this kind
      out…nothing else can."

      There are several scholarly and useful discussions on Repentance
      and Confession are going on. But yet there are several aspects that
      were not brought out to us by our learned Christians. The following
      is one reflection on this theme.

      "I am trying to clarify for myself what is the meaning of confessions
      as they exist and are practiced. I can understand the Catholic
      Confession-violation of a law. But I have to clarify the Orthodox
      Confession dogmatically (sacrament of repentance) and spiritually.
      In confession, the metamorphosis of the Church and of Christianity
      is most evident. The Church was born as a reality in opposition,
      externally visibly -- and even more, internally visibly -- to this

      The metamorphosis consists of the fact that the Church gradually
      became a religious servicing of the world. In the beginning the
      sacrament of repentance was totally focused on one thing: on the
      betrayal of the Church, betrayal of her incarnated and revealed

      Sin was considered a betrayal of the new life, a falling out of it.
      Sin was a rupture, a defection, a betrayal; sanctity was understood not
      as a moral perfection, but as an ontological faithfulness to Christ
      and His Kingdom. The moral teaching of the Church is eschatological,
      not ethical. For Christians, the essence of sin is the betrayal of
      Christ, the falling away from Him and the Church. So the sacrament of
      repentance is a return, through repentance, confession and regret,
      to the new life, already given, already revealed. Nowadays, Confession
      is not directed at that; its essence is different. It is directed
      toward a certain moral regularization -- putting into order -- of life in the
      world,of its laws. In other words, the sacrament of repentance began by
      being referred not to a moral law, but to faith and to sin as a
      falling away from faith ("no one who abides in his sins..." I John llI : 6).
      Now Confession is often a conversation about violations of moral laws,
      about weaknesses and sinfulness, but without reference to faith...
      As everything in Christianity, the sacrament of repentance is
      eschatological; it is the return of man to the longed-for Kingdom and
      to "the life of the world to come". What it has become, I simply don't
      know, nor do I understand in what "category" this absolution of sins falls
      after a few minutes of talk about one's weaknesses. I don't know!"

      This passage is from the Journals of Fr. Alexander Schmemann,
      February 21, 1980. What we learn from here is that sin is foremost
      the betrayal of the Church, the body of Christ, betrayal of the new
      life. The sacrament of repentance is a return, through repentance,
      confession, and regret. This should be the view of our Fathers too.

      The repentance, confession and forgiveness of sins can best be
      integrated in ministry through the analogy of the "Parable of the
      Lost Sheep." Christ passed on to His apostles and to us the
      mission of restoring a wholeness in people and in church.
      The dark shadow has to be faced by all of us, to repent and to
      be found.In the parable of the Lost Sheep, immediate attention
      is given to the lost sheep. Every person can have an individuation
      process and this can be the actual human situation of finding
      out his own self by controlling the ego, and that can be the
      key to the mystery of forgiveness in repentance.

      Our Church is now going through a miserable test, a culmination of a
      century old conflict. Both the factions say that they are right
      and the other
      faction is wrong. According to their point of view they may be right
      too. They may soon depart and can become separate administrative
      bodies also. But they are missing the over all picture. While
      in the whole world faith is under question and Christianity itself
      is under attack, a small section consisting of 0.4 Million Orthodox
      members (out of 2,000 Million Christians) divided into two factions
      and are fighting to establish
      their authority, tradition, power and to posses more churches and
      diocese and also mostly spend lot of time in vain speaking and to
      find fault with the leadership of the other faction. Unfortunately,
      both the factions do not see the century long play of Satan who is
      continuously creating conflicts of interests and divisions in this
      ancient Church.

      After going through innumerable, humble and silent attempts to make
      peace in this church, and having direct interaction with the leadership,
      with both H.H.Patriarch and with H.H. Catholicos, I came to the conclusion
      that the reason for this unrest in our church is nothing but the
      accumulated sins of all the members, playing into the hands of Satan.
      We cannot blame our leadership alone. No doubt, they are praying
      Christians, though few of our fathers also has their contribution to
      this unchristian conflict. However, our worship, life and mission,
      peace, strength and serenity, all are somehow affected. Therefore,
      we cannot remain as silent onlookers. The only remedy that Jesus had
      clearly prescribed to remove this illness is sincere fasting and
      prayer. Peace, strength and serenity can be attained only through
      this process. Therefore, it will be appropriate for all of us to
      request both HH Patriarch and HH catholicos to issue appeal or
      Kalpana for a half an hour prayer, to be conducted throughout the
      world, at the same time, by the entire members of our Church,
      wherever they are, after sincere fasting. Of course, the emphasis on
      this prayer and fasting has to be given on all our Church members in
      Kerala and their convenience. Let us pin point the evildoers in our
      Church and defunct their activity.

      The prayer theme should be nothing but Repentance, what our Lord
      Jesus Christ had asked us to do. The detailed content or order of prayers
      can be determined by the Church leaders. If someone can compile a prayer,
      bible reading and songs which could be finished exactly in 30
      minutes, that can be adopted. Prayers like that of King David, before
      the birth of Christ and prayers of Mar Apreme (St. Ephraim) after
      Christ are relevant examples of prayers of Repentance. While David's
      Psalm 51 is well known to all Christians, because it is included in
      the Bible, the prayers of Mar Aprem is not that prominent in all
      churches, because it is not included in the Bible. But Mar Aprem
      represents pure Christianity, and his prayers make the slothful to
      repentance. A Spiritual Psalter excerpted by Bishop Theophan the
      Recluse from the works of our Holy Father Mar Aprem the Syrian,
      arranged in the manner of the Psalms of David, is available now in
      Malayalam, under the name:150 "Adhyalmika Sankeerthanam";

      Here is a relevant prayer of Mar Aprem:

      "O Lord, the master of my life, Grant not unto me a spirit of
      idleness, of discouragement, of lust of power, and of vain speaking.
      But bestow upon me, Thy servant, the spirit of chastity,
      of meekness, of patience and of love.
      Yea, O Lord and King, grant that I may perceive my own
      transgressions, and judge not my brother, for blessed art
      Thou unto ages of ages. Amen."

      The date of the ½ an hour global network prayer can be determined by
      the Church leaders. Out of experience, the suggested timings of the said
      prayers in major cities or countries will be convenient, if it is as

      Japan……Tokyo … night………....12.00--12.30AM
      USA…Los Angeles…morning……..7.30-- 8.00 AM
      Chicago……...morning…….. 9.30-10.00AM
      New York……morning….... 10.30--11.00AM
      New Jersey…morning……..10.30--11.00AM
      Florida……….morning…….10.30 --11.00AM
      England…London…afternoon………3.30 --4.00PM
      Switzerland…Geneva.. afternoon….4.30 -- 5.00PM
      Syria…Damascus…….afternoon ... 5.30 -6.00PM
      Russia…Moscow… evening ……. ..6.30 --7.00PM
      Egypt…Cairo………evening ………. 6.00 -6.30PM
      Gulf…Abu Dhabi……evening……… 7.00--7.30PM
      Dubai ………. Evening.....…....7.00 -7.30PM
      India………………..evening……….. 9.00 -- 9.30PM

      Kindly have your feedback and opinion criticism for date, modality and
      content of the proposed prayer. Again, I suggest any day during the
      last week of the Great Lent or the Week of the life-giving Passion. Let
      us take the responsibility of this situation and request our leadership to
      realize our Spiritual urge and to solve this problem for ever.

      Remember, in prayer you will not be alone. Not even alone with God,
      especially in this type of global network prayer. So, we have to
      commemorate all those who are members of the "body" of Christ, for it is as
      members of the "Body" of Christ that we pray, and other members, alive and
      sleeping (died) are always with us. The Holy Quirbana of course
      symbolically cover all these points. But it will be more effective,
      if it is conducted, for this purpose alone.

      Let us see how many people will come forward and take their responsibility.

      If this happens, this is the first time one established ancient
      church will make such an attempt of praying, at the same time, round the
      world. If it is conducted successfully, we can make it a practice to
      conduct it every year. Also, this can be a starting point for continuous
      prayer habit for unity among Christians. This will be then a
      model for all Christian Churches also, in this modern world, where
      Christian members are scattered and longing for spiritual family
      foregathering and Divine Communion. Let us take the advantage of
      the present information technology.

      May the good God bless all of us!

      Dr. Cherian Eapen
      --- End forwarded message ---
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